Investigation continues after a pair of serious crashes snarls t - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Investigation continues after a pair of serious crashes snarls traffic on I-95 for hours

Posted: Updated:
OLD LYME, CT (WFSB) -

Interstate 95 northbound in Old Lyme fully reopened late Saturday afternoon after both directions of the highway were closed for several hours following two serious crashes.

The first crash occurred between exits 71 and 70 for the crash and involved a single tractor trailer.

State Police said the driver lost control for an unknown reason, struck the guardrail on the right shoulder and then the concrete bridge support.

The tractor trailer involved also caught fire during the accident and dumped bottles of soda and water all over the highway.

The driver of the tractor trailer, 62-year-old Arturo Paez of Stratford, was flown by Life Star helicopter to Yale-New Haven Hospital with serious injuries.

In addition to State Police, the Department of Consumer Protections and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the the scene to assist with cleanup management.

A second crash occurred at about 5:45 a.m. on I-95 northbound just over the Baldwin Bridge near exit 70, also in Old Lyme.

That crash involved 8 vehicles in total, including two tractor trailers.

State Police said two people involved in the crash died from there injuries and eight other people were take to area hospitals with injuries.

The crash is still under investigation and at this time police are only saying that some how all the vehicles involved came into contact with one another, but police have not been able to determine what started the chain reaction crash.

Police said a vehicle driven by 56-year-old Debra Taliaferroholmes of Manalapan, NJ ended up in the middle of the wreckage.  Taliaferroholmes was seriously injured, her two passengers, 61-year-old Hilda Thomas of Abingdon, MD and Stacy Lockhart of Selma, AL were killed in the crash.

Crews on the scene declared it a mass casualty because of the number of victims involved.

The northbound side of the highway was reopened around 1:45 p.m., however southbound lanes remained closed until about 3:30 p.m., nearly 11 hours after it was shutdown.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.